In Summary

He sped off but soon lost his legs at the worst time, letting Kamworor pass him for victory in 28 minutes and 24 seconds. It was obvious Cheptegei had burnt out. He finished a distant 30th in 30:08 and crossed the finish-line while gasping for breath. “I feel sorry for Joshua (Cheptegei) because he was in great shape coming into the race,” said his teammate Stephen Kiprotich, who crossed the line 17th in 29:28

KAMPALA.

Going by his form, Joshua Cheptegei was Uganda’s favourite for an individual medal ahead of yesterday’s IAAF World Cross-country Championships.

That explains why Jacob Kiplimo’s junior men’s 8km gold came more as a surprise. Cheptegei, Uganda’s best track athlete in 2016, was the pundits’ pick in the nation’s pursuit of gold in the senior men’s 10km.

But he lost his lead with about 900m to go when he horribly faded, letting Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor to retain his title.
Towards the final lap, Cheptegei charged and broke away in blistering speedto send Kololo in a frenzy.

Back to back. Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor recovered superbly in the final kilometre to retain his senior men’s World Cross Country Championships Gold he won in Guiyang, China two years ago.

He sped off but soon lost his legs at the worst time, letting Kamworor pass him for victory in 28 minutes and 24 seconds. It was obvious Cheptegei had burnt out. He finished a distant 30th in 30:08 and crossed the finish-line while gasping for breath. “I feel sorry for Joshua (Cheptegei) because he was in great shape coming into the race,” said his teammate Stephen Kiprotich, who crossed the line 17th in 29:28.

“It’s sad he didn’t win. He made a terrible mistake of breaking away so early. He should have waited at least until the last 2km,” he added. Winner Kamworor shared similar sentiments like Kiprotich’s. “I left Joshua (to peel away) because I knew his pace was suicide, I held on and knew I had good energy,” the 24-year-old.

“I really wanted to defend this title and I thank God. It is a historic day.” added the two-time World Half-Marathon champion who sealed Kenya’s day with a total 12 medals.

Timothy Toroitich was the country’s best in the race, finishing ninth in 29:10 and Cheptegei’s heart-break was only consoled with team bronze.

Had Cheptegei won, it would have altered the script for Kenya’s party. But they sealed the day starting with gold in the mixed relay and senior race individual titles.

Also, a stunning 1-6 finish led by Irene Cheptai got them senior women’s team gold to add to silver medals from the junior teams’ and senior men’s categories.

dkyeyune@ug.nationmedia.com